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A Testament to a Flawed and Human Hero,
This review is from: Schindler's List (Paperback)
I understand that there was some controversy when this book won the Booker Prize because, though it is presented as a novel, it is non-fictional in approach and detail. There is very very few events mentioned here that weren't witnessed by someone (one of the hallmarks of historical fiction is that the author uses flights of fancy to imagine what happened behind closed doors). Similarly, there is very little that wasn't backed up by research and/or witness testimony.
Noting this doesn't detract from SCHINDLER'S LIST as a literary achievement. The writing is heartbreaking and taut, and the story is compelling. On a purely technical level, I was grateful that most of the chapters were very short, simply because these frequent breaks allowed me to rest briefly before delving into the relentless terror and pain that the Schindlerjuden were experiencing. I would love to know what has happened to each of his "his Jews" in the days since their liberation. The 1,200 people he saved have, as of 2006, grown to more than 7,000 living all over the world. The machinations that Keneally writes about; the bribes, the schmoozing and the glad-handing of officials in order to save these human beings is nothing short of super-human. Why did this "passive Nazi" risk his own life in order to save so many others? I don't know. I'm only grateful that he did.
Thomas Keneally reaffirms faith in the human spirit and the willingness to do good, even if the person doing it is no angel.